Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Blog as an Artist's Workspace - Introduction

A Blog as an Artist’s Workspace 
Introduction – presenting art-based research with social media

         The social media platform of a blog is an intangible workspace for self-publishing the developments of art-based research. Blogging was integrated into my art practice as a means of publicly presenting preliminary digital sources and as a personal digital archiving agent. My blog examines the use of social media as a presentation platform and as a postmodern tool for developing knowledge that pertains to interdisciplinary practice.
As an artist and scholar, my use of social media as a source for self-publishing of artist-based research is in a continual process of reinterpretation knowledge. This process is derived from experiences and methods used with my current “collection” project. Graeme Sullivan’s description for research practice is demonstrated with how artists in visual arts conceptualized their research. These approaches concerning the breath of the visual arts are centered toward the inquiry of the studio experience. Sullivan argues the inquiry of this experience encompasses ideas and the visuals informing individual, social, and cultural actions. He continues that the artist’s everyday social activities are not bond by “studio” walls.[1]
            I wanted to expand the concept of my blog from its beginning stages, which were a promotional platform for the exhibitions and events pertaining to my artwork. The blog has evolved over a two year time period. Some of the writing stages included the material and process development of my artwork, along with ideas toward the presentation of the artwork. These blog posts were lacking the presence of a wider source of research. I put aside writing about my “art” objects and started to post about experiences in observing objects and the research I was engaged with while developing the “collection” project. 
            To develop the concepts for the project, I borrow from material culture and ethnographic research methodologies. The “collection” project has themes that present various social interactions between a person and an object. I conduct relevant social and culturally based research pertaining to a collection theme. Julie Thompson Klein makes a reference to interdisciplinary practice as the activity of borrowing or “bridge building” from methods of other discipline’s that develops supplementary conceptual material.[2] Besides my subjective experience using the blog, the open access for the viewer of the blog is a source to explore wider resources, such as internet links. The access to internet links with my texts and images represents more easily obtainable information regarding my collecting process.
Artist and scholar, Margot Lovejoy refers to the tool types that artists use, which tend to indicate the current technology conditions. The characteristics of the tools are integrated with the production and conceptualization of the artwork.[3] The social media platform of a blog enables me to use various media tools to display my experiences and research. The significance for my self-publishing art-based research is the presentation of content, which contributes to the expanding investigations of media and interdisciplinary practice within contemporary art.
The act of blogging supports visual artist and artistic researcher, Grete Refsum’s theory of production. The theory of production is based on the experiences or processes that occur before an artwork is finalized or performed.[4] My blog posts present the process of forming the “collection” project. The posts articulate the postmodern identities that are engaged in the process. Gill Kirkup’s study of the concept of the postmodern identity is based on how scholars use a blog to develop experiences and present multiple narratives with media. Kirkup does present in her argument that there are concerns pertaining to the production of knowledge with the method of academic blogging. These concerns are that the use of blogging does not follow the traditional peer review or editorial process of academic publications.[5]
            The realm of knowledge has indicated a shift to hybrid interpretations, which are formed from interdisciplinary practice in human studies. Steven Seidman defines “post-modern” knowledge to consist of blurring the disciplinary boundaries, along with questioning the social knowledge from the Enlightenment culture.[6] Seidman refers to Jean-François Lyotard’s forms of social knowledge from his essay The Postmodern Condition. Lyotard’s possibilities of postmodern knowledge reflect multiple minds, different social locations, and their histories.[7] The progression over a two-year period of the “collection” project acknowledges public accessibility to restaging sites and other participants sharing their knowledge and relationships with objects. The integration of academic research, community engagement, and media resources contributes to the hybrid knowledge’s that form my collections.
This digital essay will demonstrate that a blog is a contemporary workspace for an artist using media resources toward art-based research. The two sections of text will investigate the social media platform of a blog as a tool that engages with a broad range of media. Furthermore, the text will identify media’s role within interdisciplinary practice to develop scholarly research with a postmodern identity.  The inclusion of video with this essay indicates media’s ability to offer other forms of knowledge to support artist and scholarly research. The video visually represents an aspect of the layout of my blog that the viewer would not have access to by the blog site’s internet link.

[1] Graeme Sullivan, Art Practice as Research Inquiry in the Visual Arts (Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications, 2005) 81
[2] Julie Thompson Klein, Interdisciplinarity History, Theory, and Practice (Detroit, Wayne State University Press, 1990) 27
[3] Margot Lovejoy, Postmodern Currents Art and Artists in the Age of Electronic Media (Englewood Cliffs, Prentice-Hall, 1992), 31
[4] Graeme Sullivan, Art Practice as Research Inquiry in the Visual Arts (Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications, 2005) 87
[5] Gill Kirkup, ‘Academic Blogging, Academic Practice, and Academic Identity ‘, London Review of Education, Volume 8, No. 1 (2010): 2-3
[6] Steven Seidman, The Postmodern Turn New Perspectives on Social Theory (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1994) 2
[7] Steven Seidman, The Postmodern Turn New Perspectives on Social Theory (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1994) 5

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